16mm, b/w, 8 min
"It's possible that I am overvaluing this film, although I don't think so. Even though I have seen a few Jennings films I haven't responded to, his mastery over the medium, his orchestration of light and chiaroscuro is unrivaled. Like Miracle on 34th Street and Silvercup, Close Quarters partakes of the physical world as an occasion for abstract light play, but here Jennings is creating relationships between light as pure form and light as a record of living beings, resulting in a new emotional depth that makes this film an artistic breakthrough. This is the film that should be called "fugitive light," since Jennings draws with the sun that pierces gaps in the curtains, those moments when the line or a slash on the wall will coalesce for a few seconds. But in the midst of this we see his actual apartment, his cats and his lover, and they too are allowed to emerge as pure light. And yet, they retain their identity; they are not reduced to abstract forms. The film is a play between the urge to "escape" the domestic via an aesthetic sensibility, and an undiluted love for the domestic, a gathering of bodies and shadows as co-equal loved ones. This is the film that a certain segment of the avant-garde has been trying to make for nearly fifty years, and the painful, radiant beauty of it - its full embrasure of a sliver of ordinary life, one that shines forth simply because it is so unreservedly loved - brought tears to my eyes. "
Jim Jennings's Close Quarters (2004), which I saw at TIFF 2005, impressed me to the extent that I now use it as shorthand for the style of filmmaking that discovers transcendent beauty in the everyday. Close Quarters, which was shot entirely within Jennings' New York home, is a montage of near-abstract images - shadows moving against a wall, light pouring through a curtain, the face of his cat - but his mastery of chiaroscuro never subsumes the "real" subjects of his gaze.
-Darren Hughes, Long Pauses
"(An) experimental kammerspiel comes to mind: Jim Jennings' chiaroscuro Close Quarters, which uses vertical blinds to sublime and sexy effect; a romantic sort of cabin fever, less cagey, more bedroom tussle."
"CLOSE QUARTERS etches scaly textures and carves wedges of light into a silent, velvety shadowbox where a cat stands watch over a sleeping mistress. Jennings teasingly conflates the cat's paw with the woman's bare feet protruding from the covers." - Ioannis Mookas
16mm Rental: $30.00
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